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Northwestern University

Health Professions

Many undergraduates at Northwestern consider careers in the health professions.  These can be challenging academic paths to follow, but Northwestern offers a great deal of support. 

Academic planning with your College Adviser

Pre-med students and those interested in other health professions need not have any major in particular. Students with all majors are accepted to medical school. You do not need to have a science major unless that is where your interest takes you. Indeed, a wide range of Weinberg departments offer courses that may be of interest on topics such as public health, bioethics, economics of health care, medical anthropology, and the history of science and medicine. Weinberg also offers students avenues to gain the clinical and research skills that medical schools value.

In order to apply to medical school you must complete required coursework in chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics; many schools also look for courses in English (usually satisfied by your freshman seminars, regardless of the department that offers them), the social and behavioral sciences, the humanities, statistics, and biochemistry. 

In consultation with your College Adviser and a UAAC pre-med adviser, you can plan which courses you should take, when you will take them, and in what order.  (See what a first-year schedule for a pre-med student might look like.) You can also devise a strategy to prepare for the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), which starting in 2015 will include new sections on the social and behavioral sciences and critical analysis and reasoning in addition to sections on the physical and biological sciences. Individual programs of study will vary depending on your major, study abroad plans, when you wish to apply to medical school, and other factors, so be sure to consult with your advisers frequently!

You should be aware of the realities of the pre-med course track and the challenges it poses for many students.  Your College Adviser and the advisers at UAAC can help you put your plans into perspective and, should you question whether medicine is right for you, they can help with this difficult decision.

Undergraduate Health Professions Advising (HPA)

HPA has workshops, walk-in information sessions, and one-on-one advising for students from freshman through senior year with interests in the health professions. Consult HPA’s website for details about fields and programs, including premed, dentistry, physical therapy, pharmacy, public health, and veterinary medicine.

When it comes time to apply to medical school or other programs, the HPA is your best source of advice about the process itself.  Consult the HPA website for steps to a successful application and meet with an adviser there as well.

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